Posted on Monday, July 23, 2018
The digital revolution and technology advancements have made it possible for Indians to benefit from innovations across the world, and we see a similar trend sweeping the education space. For the first time in human history, the best education in the world is practically available to everyone in the world, irrespective of where they are.
Indians place enormous value in the power of education. It is often the passport to social and economic mobility. However, the Indian education infrastructure is facing numerous challenges, of capacity, quality, and equitable access. At a time when more than 100 million Indians are set to enter the workforce in the next ten years, it is critical for the country to reimagine the way education is delivered over the next two decades.
Similar to how India leapfrogged the landline to go mobile, online education presents a phenomenal opportunity to bridge the capacity issues. With a spending on higher education at less than 1.5% of the budget, India has no choice but to leverage technology to provide access to quality education in the remote corners of the country. And with the data highway and mobile penetration, it is well positioned to provide the necessary digital backbone for a lifelong and affordable mechanism for skills development. Indians have already shown a tremendous appetite for online learning. Today, India is Coursera’s second largest market in terms of learner base with more than 3m users, adding about 60,000 a month. This is true for various other edtech platforms as well, and together is shows a promise that is hard to ignore.
Increasingly, a majority of learning will move online, with even on-campus programs having a substantial online component. We are leading to a future where top quality foundational education and lifelong learning will be delivered at a fraction of what it costs today. Job-ready competencies and credentials will be accessible to anyone in the world and majority of the learning will happen online. Learning will occur in global virtual classrooms where students will learn with the world, using live video, audio, slack, and productivity applications that allow real-time, team-based collaboration.
Today, almost all the top universities across the world leverage technology to offer their courses to a global audience, including degree programs. And they boast of the same rigor, quality and learning experience which is expected of any on-campus program, but at almost one-third of the cost. They offer the same credentials that are universally recognized by employers.
With online learning seen as a powerful tool to scale the human capital development efforts by both universities and governments alike, it is set to bring unprecedented changes to the higher education model. And ultimately, it is the Indian learner who will benefit the most.
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